The lyrics are from the song Glass by Julian Casablancas. I thought they were pretty fitting, and I hope I just didn't try to make them fit. Check it out. :)
I don't believe it, I won't believe it
I'm not sad, I understand that's how it goes
Take it easy, there's no time to be mad
That's their job, bite on their teeth, death on their mind
Pretty baby, please just get out of the way
Where it's safe
Eyes will follow you…
Tears will swallow you
They all can see right through...
The rain poured down in endless sheets, assaulting the windows with cohesive beads that quivered and rolled down to the saturated ground. The sky was roiling, the wind whipping the heavy clouds across the sky with such a force that it seemed as if everything was being fast-forwarded, hurtling toward some unclear and unknown end. It was all very fitting, she thought bitterly. Utterly cliché and appropriate. Why shouldn't the sky fall down when everything else was falling apart? Again.
The violent wind controlled the direction of the rain, bending it to its will, sending it wherever it liked. The cushions of the wicker loveseat on which she sat were soaked as a result, water seeping through the back of her black dress as well, but she found that she didn't care. Elena's head rested against the side of the house, a hard pillow that held her upright, her body slackly draped over the wicker furniture.
Her diary lay on the porch, relatively protected from the storm, waiting to be written in, to be her catharsis, but she couldn't even form a written word. She hadn't in months. Why start again now? When there was so much to say, but she had no words to describe the events of the past months. John Gilbert is dead, she had begun. My father is dead.
Both statements had been scribbled away, blotted out by her pen. Numbness overtook her; she could barely even feel the cold on her skin now. Her second father, biological parent, almost always known as Uncle, gone within the same day she had been told the truth about who he truly was. And by Katherine, nonetheless, the vampiric demon who tortured the Salvatore brothers. Who held them in the palm of her hand, even after over a hundred years.
Elena abandoned her vacant stare to close her eyes. She could see nothing but blood, her kitchen covered in blood, her father struggling for breath on the floor, fingers severed and dying. Her eyes snapped open, trying to forget the look on his face, horrified and pale, trying to forget the gargled screams and everything that followed.
But it still played behind the whites of her eyes, a movie she couldn't shut off. Jenna flew in, having heard screaming before Elena had come home. Her screams had been worse, choked and uncontrollable, confused and disbelieving. And the silence from Jeremy's bedroom had made everything worse.
The funeral earlier today had been short, with few people in attendance, much fewer than Mayor Lockwood's two days previous. She, Jenna, and Jeremy had stood there together, the rain hammering the small tent under which the casket lie. Most of the Council had been there, and she vaguely wondered how many of them knew what had really happened. No pretense of "animal attack" had run through the newspaper, just death…a heart attack. The casket had been closed.
Her heels lay on the porch, one upright, the other on its side, unprotected, slick, and ruined. She stared at them; they were as rain-flecked as her exposed legs, as her exposed house. She knew Katherine could come back. Any day, at any time to kill them all if she wanted. She had been invited in, leaving them all vulnerable. Stefan had plead with her, begged her to move, to stay with him, to go somewhere safe. But here she sat, out in the open, as if daring Katherine to come back. And Damon and Stefan patrolled the town and the house.
A flash of lightning illuminated the dim midday, the yard so brilliant for a moment that she could make out the would be camouflaged figure making its way up to the porch. A loud clap of thunder followed, shaking the sky, and Elena scarcely flinched. She had heard its rumbles all day, and she was growing immune. Her heart didn't speed its beating, or tremor in fear, but kept its low, steady pace as the silhouette ascended the stairs and leaned against a column, soaked.
Elena's eyes watched wearily as Damon stood there, shaking the rain from his hair. He was still in his clothes from the funeral, a perfectly cut black suit that now clung to him. His white collared shirt was the only thing that broke up the gloom in the color palate that surrounded her.
She didn't say a word as he made his way to her. He lifted her legs easily and took a seat beside her, placing them on top of his lap. Allowing his fingers to rest atop her calf, his hands formed a small shelter over it. He looked straight ahead for awhile, watching the rain assail the ground in silence. Elena closed her eyes, letting her head fully rest against the siding of the house. This time she saw no red, only black, the unthreatening shade that let her succumb to exhaust and sleep.
When she awoke, she discovered herself to be warm, maybe even dry, wrapped tightly in a cocoon of her mother's favorite quilt. He couldn't have known that, she told herself as she shifted lightly, pulling the blanket below her chin. She didn't bother to sit up straight. He offered her coffee with a curve of his lips that was neither a smirk nor a smile, but a simple expression of understanding.
She took it gladly; the cup was warm in her hands and soothed her aching throat. Her legs were still draped over his, the quilt only covering what it needed to, her. It was if he hadn't moved, though he clearly had. His clothes were still damp and there was a sheen of rain on his skin, but he was no longer sodden.
As they sipped their coffee in silence, Elena noticed that it was considerably darker, and not just because of the storm. She indistinctly wondered how long she had slept, for it wasn't completely dark yet, and she could just make out a hazy glow of fading light in the distance. She could feel Damon's hand encircling her bare ankle beneath the quilt, the other hand holding his cup. The slight pressure was comforting, and she had a feeling he knew that. He wasn't scrutinizing her, but rather watching the rain as he had before. Or maybe he was looking for her, she'd never know.
"I'm not staying at the hotel with Jenna and Jeremy tonight," she said cradling her coffee cup close to her chest, her voice cracked from lack of use. Stefan had made Damon compel them, Jenna at least, to stay in away from the house for awhile. There was a busted pipe that needed taking care of, after all. "I told Jenna I'm staying at Bonnie's."
"Are you?" he asked, no implication of judgment in his voice.
"No," she told him, glancing out of the corner of her eye.
"Okay," he responded, meeting her gaze. He wasn't Stefan; he wouldn't force her out of her own home to protect her. He would merely take extra precautions.
"Okay," she repeated, almost surprised she didn't have to fight for what she wanted.
Silence spread out among them again, the echo of rain and thunder supplying the noise that their ears desired. She drained her coffee and stared into her mug before shifting her weight, moving to get some more. Damon squeezed her ankle lightly before she got up, taking the mug and blanket with her into the house. She stood there in the threshold for a moment, her eyes trailing as far back into the kitchen as the dim light and her weak eyes would take her. She faltered.
Suddenly Damon was behind her, taking the cup from her hands and directing her back toward the wicker couch with a light push from his hands. He was back just as she sat down, straight up and down this time, the quilt still wrapped about her firmly. He handed her her cup gingerly, careful not to spill the hot liquid on her. Damon brought his own coffee to his lips the instant he sat down again, and for a moment she found herself wondering if he was tired too.
"Tracking Katherine? Yes. Trying to at least. It took us so long to get a hold of her scent after everything settled…" he trailed off; rephrasing his sentence, he continued, "It'll just take a little longer to find her than usual. But, she will be found."
Elena noticed that his jaw tightened as he finished speaking, and he quickly pressed the now comically cheerful mug to his lips. She nodded slowly, her mind drifting to Stefan, wondering where exactly he was, and what would happen if he actually caught Katherine. Or maybe she hadn't left. Perhaps her doppelganger was simply biding her time, waiting to creep into the daylight and ruin her life some more. Katherine could do anything, and people would think it was her, Elena.
A sudden pressure on her bare shoulder nearly made her jump. Damon had set his coffee down, his body turned toward her, his hand gently holding her bare shoulder where the quilt had fallen down. His lips made to move, but nothing came out. His head tilted away from her, clearly frustrated with himself, before turning back and taking hold of her other shoulder as well.
He struggled with himself for a moment, before his lips parted once more, "It will be okay, Elena. We will get her." His tongue tasted bitter under those clichéd words, but he intended them to be a promise. He wouldn't rest until they were.
Elena looked down, squeezing the delicate fabric of the quilt between her fingers softly. She nodded understandingly before looking back at Damon. Elena knew that he wasn't trying to heal her wounds, to make everything disappear like it hadn't happened; he couldn't do that. He wasn't even trying to pretend that he could. Damon simply wanted to be there, and he was. That was all she needed, and that was all he could give.
Damon's hands slipped from her shoulders, running down the length of what he could distinguish her arms to be before his lips pressed into a solid line and he leaned down to retrieve his coffee from the porch. When he sat back upright, Elena was staring at him, a question bubbling beneath her mouth so distinctly all he could do was wait.
"That night…" she began quietly, pulling her arms out of the quilt, and exposing her now wrinkled dress. "Why didn't Jeremy…" Elena paused for a moment to collect herself, tears springing to her eyes at the near thought. "I mean, he had vampire blood in his system. He wasn't breathing…"
Damon's eyes softened as he saw the distinct shimmer of tears in her doe-eyes. Without a moment's hesitation, he bridged the gap between them, taking her hand in his. "He didn't die, Elena," he said the words tenderly, carefully. "He was close…but we got him to the hospital fast enough. They were able to pump his stomach before it really took hold. There wasn't enough time for the amount that he ingested to pass through his system. He just appeared…" Damon let his words trail away, not needing to say any more.
"You did," she corrected after the weight of his words had slipped away, squeezing his hand firmly, her finger tracing over his skin. "If you wouldn't have been so close…"
Damon's fingers interlaced through hers, gently applying pressure in a reassuring squeeze. He felt almost as relieved as she did, and he wondered when exactly that had happened. He was a vampire, after all. To him, turning others shouldn't have been a bad thing. But something had changed him, someone. And as she stared at him with admiration, he couldn't help but feel a twinge of guilt. His conscience reminding him that he himself had killed her father, only John had come back to life then. An event Damon hadn't been pleased with at the time. But he reasoned it for self preservation, trying to push it back into the recesses of his mind, not wanting anything to spoil this moment, the way Elena was looking at him.
"Thank you, Damon," she finally whispered. "I don't know what I would have done if…"
"Your welcome," he said, returning her gaze before focusing on balancing his coffee cup on his knee. The warmth had left the yellow ceramic, and he dared not drink it now. Instead, he stared at it, seeing his own reflection for a brief moment before hearing her voice again.
"What did she say that night? Katherine…" Elena wondered aloud, her fingers still entwined with his. "To make you think she was me? Are we really that similar?"
Damon felt like he couldn't breathe for a moment, remembering what he had said, what he had done, none of which had made it into the post-hospital discussion between the three of them about what had happened; he had compelled Jenna to forget. Damon cringed on the inside as his mouth chose the easy way out.
"The only thing, and I repeat, the only thing that is similar is your face, Elena. Katherine is deceptive by nature. She could talk you into anything, and she's very good at what she does. She can read people's emotions like a book and play off of them. Manipulate them."
"But…" Elena continued, staring at their hands, unsure of what to think. "This is the woman that you loved, that you knew so well, and she stood out here and -"
"Yes," he cut her off, his voice tender as he pulled his hand away from hers. "She did. She…fooled me. I was thanking you, by way of Stefan and Bonnie, for saving my life. And in that moment I couldn't have imagined it to be anyone but you. Jenna opened the door, and told her to come in - again, thinking it was you. And I left…"
Elena's eyes were soft, as if she felt sorry for him, being deceived by Katherine yet again. "I'm sorry, Damon," she said softly, patting his knee. "I wish it had been me."
The hardened knot in the pit of Damon's stomach smoldered and melted into lava. He placed a trembling hand over hers for a moment, staring at the ground before turning to face her, his eyes melding with hers sincerely. "I do too, Elena."
They remained like that for awhile, his large hand over hers, his fingers curled beneath her touch. His eyes surveyed her gently. Her hair was coming undone; the upper half had been pulled back behind her head into a smaller neat ponytail, now loose strands framed one side of her face, giving her a slightly disheveled look. Her makeup, what little she had on in the first place, had faded with the day and tears. Eyeliner was smudged around her eyes, making her appear more worn out than he might have guessed. Her dress, once smooth, clean, with a flowing neckline from shoulder to shoulder, was now in shambles. Wrinkles plagued the fabric, and yet, she didn't seem to care about any of it.
The expression in her eyes reminded him of damaged glass. Cracked badly, but not completely shattered. More like bulletproof glass, she was much stronger than the average girl. She held her shape when she had every right to shatter into a million pieces. Instinctively, his right hand reached out to touch her cheek, his thumb rolling over the soft plane of her skin before he remembered the coffee cup which he had held in his hand only seconds ago.
It seemed like an eternity before the cup hit the hardwood of the porch, long enough to grab it, but his fingers did not move from her cheek. They held there steadily, sliding down a little when the noise caused her to jump. He could hear her sharp intake of breath and the cold liquid spilling from the undamaged cup onto the porch and diluting itself with the rain.
Elena closed her eyes for a moment, realizing what it was and her overstated reaction. The small smile that laced her lips lifted her cheek and his fingers as well. Mesmerized, he smiled also. As she opened her eyes, lightning flashed across the inky sky, illuminating everything between and around them. Thunder reeled along behind, and Damon could hear her heart beating swiftly.
He allowed his fingers to graze her cheek in the fading light, her skin soft and yielding under his touch. His fingers ached as he pulled them away, the warmth flooding from his body as he did. He smiled softly, fighting internally with every bad impulse.
"We should probably get you to bed," his lips whispered, though every other part of him longed to keep her right here beside him. "You must be exhausted."
Elena's eyes closed heavily once before she nodded, her mouth down turned. He stood first, pulling his remaining hand away from hers and taking the coffee mug from her grasp, placing it at their feet. Damon reached down, lifting her up from her waist, she took the blanket with her, leaning against him for a moment before she picked up her diary and her shoes. He located the coffee cups and emptied them into the now flooded yard before securing them in the hook of his finger and taking her shoes from her in his other hand.
Damon led the way, and he could tell from her closeness that this house now held fear for her in the darkness. He said not a word, however as he turned on the lights, discarding the mugs on the stairs, wanting to avoid the kitchen. Elena hovered near his back as they made their way up the groaning stairs, and she gladly took his hand in the darkness, her other hand groping for the hall switch when they reached the landing.
They walked to her room in silence, and Elena's eyes drifted around her to Jeremy's empty room, the bathroom, Jenna's room, wondering if this place could ever be the same. This home, her only home, now felt cold and vacant, lifeless. A tremor rippled through her as Damon turned on a lamp in her room, drawing her attention again. He set her shoes down by the closet, not feeling like being intrusive tonight. He turned around slowly, absent mindedly taking off his blazer which had grown stiff with the rain.
He loosened his tie, and as she sat on her bed, Elena wondered how had hadn't done so long before now; he appeared incredibly restrained by the formal clothing. The rain drummed against the house, rolling down the window thickly like salty tears. Elena's eyes drifted around her room slowly. Everything seemed the same, although nothing was. Sighing, she returned her journal to nightstand, almost laughing at the irony. She used to hide it carefully, to guard it with her life, and now it seemed as if everything was out in the open, exposed.
Damon leaned against her dresser for a moment, watching her. His face was patient, his eyes soft, and when he moved, he moved with a slow reassurance, pulling her from the bed gently, wrapping his arms around her. A surrogate for his brother, he told himself, as she clung to him for a moment, letting the quilt fall to the floor behind her. He allowed his head to rest against hers, the smell of her shampoo intoxicating his senses as her cheek lay against his chest.
Elena trembled gently in his arms as the thunder rolled across the blackened sky, and he could feel her warm tears through his shirt. Damon could feel his own throat constricting as he held her more securely, his fingers threading through her hair. This was the closest he had been to her after the kiss, and he found that he felt weak at her touch, strange and vulnerable, perhaps the same way she felt. But he held her strong until she pulled away, rubbing at her eyes and focusing on some distant object that he could not see.
"Stefan should be here later on tonight for his shift," his voice was hushed in the soft light. They stood inches apart for a moment, and Damon's heart ached for this fragile creature before him, wishing nothing more than he could take away her pain and fear.
She nodded sedately, breathing quietly as she looked up at him. There was a tenderness in his eyes and he stepped back slowly, his lips pressed firmly upon each other. Another wave of exhaustion washing over her, Elena's gaze fell to the floor. Blinking slowly, she indistinctly saw a shadow, raising her head only slightly just as Damon's lips touched her cheek.
Her breath caught for a moment, and he steeled himself to be pushed away. Nothing came, however; her arms hung loosely at her sides, warmness spreading through her body. He exhaled against her skin as he pulled away; a small shiver floated along its smooth surface.
"Good night, Elena," he murmured, his eyes lingering on her before he headed toward the door.
"Damon…" Her voice was barely audible, and it caused his ears to tingle, stopping him in his tracks. "Sleep in Jeremy's room tonight…and leave the bathroom doors open…"
He turned around to face her slowly. Elena stood there solemnly, strongly under the weight of everything, as if she wasn't broken, apprehensive on the inside. Nodding, he leaned to retrieve his jacket from the floor. He fiddled with it for a moment, his hands stilled against the rain-roughened fabric, hearing her movement. He watched her from the doorway, gathering her things as if he weren't there, as if it were any other night. But it wasn't. And as the rain hammered on he slipped away from the doorframe, watching her head toward the bathroom with her pajamas. She paused for a moment, turning toward him as she reached the door.
"Good night, Damon. And thank you…" Her chocolate irises sparkled at him for a moment before disappearing through the bathroom door.
As she leaned against the door she could still feel the pressure of his lips against her cheek. Elena hugged her clothes to her chest, trying to comfort herself, trying to make herself believe that everything would be okay, that everything was okay. But she couldn't quite shake the gnawing feeling in the pit of her stomach, or the tingling sensation on her cheek. But as she fell into her normal evening routine, she somehow knew that tomorrow she would be up, actively searching for answers to the problems that were mounting in her life. She had to. This semiconscious side of life could only for last so long; she knew that well from the death of her parents last spring.
She exited the bathroom, a minty taste in her mouth from her toothpaste, and made for her bed, turning off the lamp along the way. The rain outside had slowed to a steady drizzle, and she could hear crickets singing. For an instant, as she settled between her covers, she pretended that this was any other night, that Jeremy was two doors away, that Jenna was up working on her thesis, that even, John was watching TV too loudly. A ragged sigh escaped her lips before she rolled over, turning her face away from the open door and the hall; Damon had knowingly left the light on. Her heavy lids closed without protest, her world going dark without trouble.
During the night she could feel the steady, reassuring pressure that she knew so well on her shoulder. His fingers lightly traced circles on her bare skin, massaging the warm flesh tenderly. A faint smile played on her lips before she fell prey to sleep's seductive lure again, her lips moving without conscious thought, "Stefan..."
She was asleep again before she could notice the sharp intake of air at her voice, before she could feel the momentary waver of his touch. Damon sat beside her small frame in the dark, still and silent as he focused on her breathing patterns, which grew heavy and slow again within a matter of minutes. His brother had not returned...yet. And as he had paced back and forth through the silent house, having nothing to occupy himself with, having cleaned the coffee mugs and poured out the cold coffee, he found himself needing to be closer to her. He had paused at the stairs, remained in the doorway, at the edge of the bed for long intervals before he was suddenly beside her sleeping form.
His ears were peaked for the sound of the door, for any sign of trouble or Stefan. Damon remained that way until the soft morning light fell along the floor of her bedroom, half tension, half ecstasy as he watched and listened. His body was a coil, ready to spring at the slightest deviation of her breathing or creak on the floorboards below them.
The sun had just fully risen, casting long, warm shadows along the wooden floor, when Damon noiselessly hurtled himself into Elena's wall, sliding down into a sitting position just as Stefan walked through the door. The rest happened as if in a hazy kaleidoscope, colors and sounds blending into one indistinguishable shape. Stefan walking in, a regretful look in his eyes. His brother's touch waking Elena slowly, the choking disappointment, the muffled words, and clinging embraces.
Damon closed his burning eyes against the blur, steeling himself to leave, to track. "I knew it was you," he heard her murmur into his brother's chest, clinging to him as if her life depended on his touch. Their words faded into echoes as his head rested against the wall, his world going black until reality pulled him violently to the surface. Cool and transparent as glass.